In a display of a solidarity with the black female ESPN sportscaster under attack by the White House for calling out President Donald Trump as a “white supremacist” earlier this week, the hashtag #NaziBucketChallenge was going viral on Friday as people from all walks of life waited to see if they would receive the same kind of harsh treatment for criticizing the president publicly.
It all started on Monday, when ESPN anchor Jemele Hill called Trump a white supremacist on her Twitter account.
The controversy intensifed, however, after White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders publicly called for Hill’s firing during a White House press briefing on Wednesday.
But Hill’s criticism, which is widely shared among private citizens and public figures, hardly came out of nowhere.
Her tweet followed, among other examples, the firestorm surrounding Trump’s response to last month’s deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, in which he failed to denounce the neo-Nazis who organized the gathering and insisted that counter-protesters were equally to blame for the violence that erupted.
The comments also came two weeks after Trump’s pardon of his longtime supporter Joe Arpaio, the former sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, who detained Latinos with no evidence of any wrongdoing and established a detention center that he compared favorably to a Nazi concentration camp.
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The president’s former top strategist, Steve Bannon, also has well-established ties to white supremacists, having served as the executive director of Breitbart News both before and after his work with Trump.
Hill later deleted the tweet and clarified that the views she had expressed were her own and not her employer’s; ESPN said Thursday it had accepted her apology. But that didn’t stop Trump from wading into the controversy and demanding an apology from ESPN in an early-morning missive on Friday.
A number of well-known Trump critics spoke out in solidarity with Hill—and challenged the White House to call for their dismissal as well.
The campaign picked up speed following Trump’s statement on Thursday in which he repeated his views on the violence in Charlottesville, saying that there were “some pretty bad dudes” among the anti-racism counter-protesters. Everyday Americans began using the #NaziBucketChallenge hashtag, making it clear that Trump’s white supremacist views have been noticed by people of all races, religions, socioeconomic backgrounds, and genders.
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